Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the more vulnerable and marginalized in Cameroon, according the country’s Ministry of Social Affairs. Left out of mainstream initiatives, many women with disability feel “invisible and unheard”. One of the domains where they are invisible is in the fashion industry.
It is with that in mind that Sisterspeak237, a platform amplifies the voices of women and minority groups in Cameroon, is organizing a fashion show for girls and women with disabilities in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
A group of beaming female models with various forms of disabilities are expected to take part in the innovative fashion show on March 30, 2019, at Djuega Palace Hotel.
Dubbed #Access2019 Fashion Show for Women with Disabilities and organized by Sisterspeak237, the show will feature female models with disabilities wearing adaptive clothing designs by fashion designers like Vuvu, Aju B, AirTino™Prime andDware outfit
The event, which amongst other things explores disability and inclusion in the fashion industry, aims to highlight the need for accessibility in stores and changerooms; adaptive and accessible clothing design; and more diverse and authentic representation of people with disabilities in the fashion media Cameroon.
According to Comfort Mussa, founder of Sisterspeak237 and the brain behind the “laudable” initiative, “#Access2019 is more than just a fashion show for women/girls with disability. We are creatively using the platform to amplify the voices of women with disability on issues that matter most” adding that they “will use the runway to creatively tell their stories, and tell us how we can all make the world a better/safer space for every woman”.
Cameroon’s best make-up artist Sandra Ekukole owner and founder of BihYouty who believes that fashion like every other business should be inclusive will be guest at the show.
According to her, “Working with ladies who are ‘differently able’ gives a total twist to my work and what I’m used to. It is a brilliant reminder that they need pampering and beauty treats as well.”
Ever since the initiative was made public, various positive reactions have flooded the social media page ofSisterspeak237.
“Still the women’s month. So, on this big day we will be celebrating women with disability. Putting a big smile on their faces, see them exhibit their social character such as walking down the runway and making them know everything God created are beautiful” comments Adeware Oluwaseun Samuel .
Nancy Seino on her part notes that “I am more than excited to partake in this very first inclusive fashion show in Cameroon. I am particularly excited because it gives me the opportunity to show that no matter who you are and how u look, you can still be very fashionable”.
The Inclusive Fashion Show is an initiative of Sisterspeak237 and organized in collaboration with fashion designers, local partners representing national disability organizations in Cameroon, corporate sponsors and members of the fashion community.
Sisterspeak237, a highly acclaimed and widely read site is a platform that amplifies the voices of women and minority groups in Cameroon. To improve the coverage of disabilities and women’s issues, the platform also introduced the National Story Telling Competition.
The goal is to challenge student journalists and journalists across Cameroon to find and tell stories about women and also about disabilities. The initiative also provides mentorship on reporting and mainstreaming disability in the media for the contest winners.